Thursday, July 20, 2017
Teaching Your Children to Respect You
One of the things we must teach our children while they are growing up, is respectfulness. If you will look around in any grocery store, you can find examples of children who are not being taught to respect their parents. The children scream at their parents for what they want, and in turn, the parents become angry and frustrated. The responsibility lies with parents to teach their children how to behave in a respectful way.
Children should not be allowed to talk back, speak in a sassy way to their parents, insult their parents, blatantly disregard clear instructions, etc. As children become older, this disrespect may come in the forms of eye-rolling or even shaking their heads at you when you've said something they disagree with. In any type of relationship, this kind of behavior is unhealthy and harms the relationship, so our children should not be permitted to act this way towards us. Of course, wholesome and friendly discussion over things should be encouraged, especially as children grow older, but this should always be done in a respectful way.
Why should we insist that our children treat us with respect? For one, the Lord has commanded children to honor their parents, and promised them blessings if they do. Of course it is more pleasant for us if they respect us, but the effects are much more far-reaching than that.
When a child is taught to respect his or her parents, it will be far easier for them to also respect other authorities in their lives. The police, church leaders, governing authorities, etc. are all due respect because of the office that they hold. We may not agree with everything they do, or even be able to obey them in all circumstances, but we ought to have respect for them due to their office. Just think of a society where children were brought up to respect the law and the consequences of breaking it--we would have far less law-breakers in our communities.
It is also helpful to our children, and to others they will live around as they grow older, to learn respect. Think of a husband or wife who has never been taught to be respectful to other people. This will make their marriage very difficult. Of course, Christ can overcome many difficulties, but it is much better that this kindness is learned at a young age.
Most importantly of all, when we teach our children to respect us, we lead the way for them to also respect and honor their Creator, for there is no one more worthy of respect than He. Conversely, if we don't teach them to first respect their parents, then it will make it much more difficult for our children to give their lives over in obedience to the ultimate authority of God in Heaven.
With some children, a gentle reminder to speak in a respectful tone, to not roll their eyes, etc. will be sufficient. However, many others require a consequence, such as when these behaviors are often repeated. If a child will not truly listen to you with a repentant heart when you remind them how they should treat you, then they probably need a consequence. With older children, I sometimes assign them to write at least 300 word essays on the subject of being respectful. If they continue the disrespect before they've finished the essay, the number of required words goes up, usually by 100 words on each offense. No, of course they don't like it at the time, but we must keep in mind the desired end--that they learn the importance of being respectful to others.
Of course, all of this is done with love. If you are shouting at your children to respect you, they will not respect you in their hearts, and may never do so. We do not demand respect because we are oh so worthy of it. But we need it in order to be effective parents. God has given us this authority so that we may assist Him on this earth in raising Godly offspring to His glory.
Also, take heart, mothers. You may have one or more difficult children now who cause you heartache. If you are doing the best job you can do, pleading with the Lord to help you, repenting when you do wrong, and apologizing to your children when you've sinned against them, then you are doing all that is needed. We can only do so much, and then we must leave the end results in the Lord's hands. We really cannot change our children's hearts. But we must pray for them, and we must be devoted and caring mothers, mothers who care enough to keep teaching their children right from wrong. We must not grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9).
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